The tech indus­try has focused on human wear­ables for years, but while Joan­na Nas­sar was pur­su­ing her PhD, a ques­tion kept nag­ging at her: What about ani­mal wear­ables? It may sound strange, but if you think about the droves of crea­tures stud­ied by sci­en­tists every year, there are tech­ni­cal­ly a lot of “ani­mal wear­ables” (usu­al­ly called tags) in cir­cu­la­tion. We’ve made smart­watch­es, fit­ness-track­ing rings and more to be com­fort­able and flex­i­ble, but tags attached to under­wa­ter crea­tures are often heavy, uncom­fort­able and, most of all, inva­sive (involv­ing drills or clamps). Nas­sar says marine sci­en­tists told her the bulky tags lim­it­ed what kinds of species they could work with — and, there­fore, the kind of data they could col­lect on marine life. 

With Bluefin, MMH Labs aims to turn that idea on its head. It made use of flex­i­ble, stretch­able elec­tron­ics to devel­op a prod­uct that could mon­i­tor lev­els of salin­i­ty, pH, tem­per­a­ture and depth, along with the phys­i­ol­o­gy (or mus­cle strain) of a creature’s move­ment under­wa­ter. Bluefin can be fit­ted onto an ani­mal in less than 30 sec­onds, and sci­en­tists can release it more than one mile below the sur­face. It can then track a Bluefin’s satel­lite loca­tion and, after retriev­ing it from an ani­mal, col­lect the data wire­less­ly using Blue­tooth. Cur­rent­ly, Nas­sar is a post­doc at Stan­ford and work­ing on fur­ther expand­ing Bluefin’s capa­bil­i­ties. 

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